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Public Act 101-0441


 

Public Act 0441 101ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 101-0441
 
HB2541 EnrolledLRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

    AN ACT concerning criminal law.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act.
 
    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
    "Committed person" means a person committed to the
Department.
    "Commitment" means a judicially determined placement in
the custody of the Department of Corrections or the Department
of Juvenile Justice on the basis of conviction or delinquency.
    "Correctional institution or facility" means a Department
of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice building or
part of a Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile
Justice building where committed persons are detained in a
secure manner.
    "Department" includes the Department of Corrections and
the Department of Juvenile Justice, unless the text solely
specifies a particular Department.
    "Detainee" means a committed person in the physical custody
of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile
Justice.
    "Director" includes the Director of the Department of
Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice unless the
text solely specifies a particular Director.
    "Discharge" means the end of a sentence or the final
termination of a detainee's physical commitment to and
confinement in the Department of Corrections or Department of
Juvenile Justice.
    "Peer educator" means an incarcerated citizen who is
specifically trained in voting rights education, who shall
conduct voting and civics education workshops for detainees
scheduled for discharge within 12 months.
    "Program" means the nonpartisan peer education and
information instruction established by this Act.
    "Re-entering citizen" means any United States citizen who
is: 17 years of age or older; in the physical custody of the
Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice;
and scheduled to be re-entering society within 12 months.
 
    Section 10. Purpose; program. The Department of
Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice shall
provide a nonpartisan peer-led civics program throughout the
correctional institutions of this State to teach civics to
soon-to-be released citizens who will be re-entering society.
The goal of the program is to promote the successful
integration of re-entering citizens, promote democracy, and
reduce rates of recidivism within this State. This program
shall coincide with and enhance existing laws to ensure that
re-entering citizens understand their civic responsibility and
know how to secure or regain their right to vote as part of the
exit process.
 
    Section 15. Curriculum and eligibility. The civics peer
education program shall consist of a rigorous curriculum, and
participants shall be instructed on subjects including, but not
limited to, voting rights, governmental institutions, current
affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election, and
democratic processes. Each workshop shall consist of 3 sessions
that are 90 minutes each and that do not need to be taken
consecutively. The Department must offer re-entering citizens
scheduled to be discharged within 12 months with the civics
peer education program, and each re-entering citizen must
enroll in the program one to 12 months prior to his or her
expected date of release. This workshop must be included in the
standard exit process. The Department should aim to include
this workshop in conjunction with other pre-release procedures
and movements. Delays in a workshop being provided shall not
cause delays in discharge. Detainees may not be prevented from
attending workshops due to staffing shortages, lockdowns, or to
conflicts with family or legal visits, court dates, medical
appointments, commissary visits, recreational sessions,
dining, work, class, or bathing schedules. In case of conflict
or staffing shortages, re-entering citizens must be given full
opportunity to attend a workshop at a later time.
 
    Section 20. Peer educator training. The civics peer
education program shall be taught by peer educators who are
citizens incarcerated in Department of Corrections and
Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and specially
trained by experienced peer educators and established
nonpartisan civic organizations. Established nonpartisan civic
organizations may be assisted by area political science or
civics educators at colleges, universities, and high schools
and by nonpartisan organizations providing re-entry services.
The nonpartisan civic organizations shall provide adequate
training to peer educators on matters including, but not
limited to, voting rights, governmental institutions, current
affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election, and
democratic processes, and shall provide periodic updates to
program content and to peer educators.
 
    Section 25. Voter and civic education program; content.
    (a) Program content shall provide the following:
        (1) nonpartisan information on voting history
    procedures;
        (2) nonpartisan definitions of local, State, and
    federal governmental institutions and offices; and
        (3) examples and simulations of registration and
    voting processes.
    (b) Established nonpartisan civic organizations shall
provide periodic updates to program content and, if applicable,
peer educators. Updates shall reflect major relevant changes to
election laws and processes in Illinois.
    (c) Program content shall be delivered in the following
manners:
        (1) verbally via peer educators;
        (2) broadcasts via Department of Corrections and
    Department of Juvenile Justice internal television
    channels; or
        (3) printed information packets.
    (d) Peer educators shall disseminate printed information
for voting in the releasee's county, including, but not limited
to, election authorities' addresses, all applicable Internet
websites, and public contact information for all election
authorities. This information shall be compiled into a civics
handbook. The handbook shall also include key information
condensed into a pocket information card.
    (e) This information shall also be compiled electronically
and posted on Department of Corrections' website along with the
Department of Corrections' Community Support Advisory Councils
websites.
    (f) Department Directors shall ensure that the wardens or
superintendents of all correctional institutions and
facilities visibly post this information on all common areas of
their respective institutions, and shall broadcast the same via
in-house institutional information television channels.
Directors shall ensure that updated information is distributed
in a timely, visible, and accessible manner.
    (g) The Director of Corrections shall order, in a clearly
visible area of each parole office within this State, the
posting of a notice stipulating voter eligibility and that
contains the current Internet website address and voter
registration information provided by State Board of Elections
regarding voting rights for citizens released from the custody
of the Department.
    (h) All program content and materials shall be distributed
annually to the Community Support Advisory Councils of the
Department of Corrections for use in re-entry programs across
this State.
 
    Section 30. Power of the Department. The Department of
Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice shall adopt
rules to carry out this Act within 6 months after the effective
date of this Act.
 
    Section 35. Funding. The funding for the voting rights and
registration peer education program shall be subject to
appropriation by the General Assembly. The Department may use
private or federal funding to administer the program,
including, but not limited to, funds from the United States
Department of Justice.
 
    Section 40. Voter and civic education program monitoring
and enforcement.
    (a) The Director of Corrections and the Director of
Juvenile Justice shall ensure that wardens or superintendents,
program, educational, and security and movement staff permit
these workshops to take place, and that re-entering citizens
are escorted to workshops in a consistent and timely manner.
    (b) Compliance with this Act shall be monitored by a report
published annually by the Department of Corrections and the
Department of Juvenile Justice and containing data, including
numbers of re-entering citizens who enrolled in the program,
numbers of re-entering citizens who completed the program, and
total numbers of individuals discharged. Data shall be
disaggregated by institution, discharge, or residence address
of citizen, and other factors.
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect on
January 1, 2020.

Effective Date: 1/1/2020